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GLF 2017: What is the role of shared accommodations in the new hospitality landscape?

At the last Global Lodging Forum, held April 10 and 11, 2017 at the hotel Pullman Paris Montparnasse, four hospitality professionals shared their view of the sharing economy. Read the key points of this round table.  

Jean-Bernard Falco, President, AhTop; Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa; Clara Audry, Directrice du développement, onefinestay; Emmanuel Arnaud, President, Guest to Guest Jean-Bernard Falco, President, AhTop; Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa; Clara Audry, Directrice du développement, onefinestay; Emmanuel Arnaud, President, Guest to Guest

 What role will private accommodations play in the new hospitality landscape?

Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa

  • "Our company was created in 2007, after sixty or so trips worldwide. I was looking for a new form of accommodation to address a broader clientele. Five years of research were necessary to raise the funds. AirBnB was born in 2012. Our ecosystem is French, we pay our taxes in France."
  • "Our average shopping cart is 30 to 40 euros."
  • "We used accommodations in private homes; we all have an idea of who the users are."

Clara Audry, Development director, Onefinestay

  • "AccorHotels acquired us in April 2016. We have always respected the rules of the game."
  • "Our concept relies on a private accommodations offer with staff that offer hotel service."
  • "Our average price per night is 500 euros."
  • "We meet a new need expressed by different kinds of people, particularly families, sometimes with several generations and for longer lengths of stay: we benefit from an average length of stay of seven nights and up to 10 nights in the USA."
  • "From an outsider's perspective, we are often referred to as a “Luxury AirBnB”, but in reality our supply is different and offers guests staying with us the possibility of an additional service. Staff act as receptionists and are at the service of the client."

Jean-Bernard Falco, President, AhTop

  • "The macro-economic context must not be forgotten: tourism, 7.3% of our GDP, is the number-one employer in France. It represents 13 billion in investments each year. Close to half of investments are in accommodations and tourism. 90,000 young people are hired each year. France welcomes around 85 million visitors each year. There is room for everyone. Our goal is to raise the awareness of important political actors on the sector."
  • "Digital players are welcome but we must play by the same rules. Each one must respect the regulatory rules and tax obligations… A distinction must be made between the professionals and the others. AirBnB announced 400,000 ads and rentals in 2016; in one year that is 200,000 more than the previous year, it cannot work. It is necessary to take into account the regulatory and social context."

Are you faithful to your model? Can you live decently while respecting it?

Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa

  • "We take a commission on each transaction. 40% of traditional travelers return to accommodations in the sharing economy."
  • "We have many new members. We have many new accommodations."
  • "Our model is viable and profitable. Since our creation, we have held a status as real estate agent in France."
  • "Our model, which is a revenue sharing model, is the same in all countries. Then there are variations on the different markets." 

Emmanuel Arnaud, President, GuestToGuest

  • "Our concept is based on the free exchange of villas for vacationing. It's amateur hospitality."
  • "We have succeeded in maintaining this constant: the guest pays no money to the host and vice versa. We sell optional services. We raised 33 million euros in funds and bought our American competitor (which offers a subscription for 150 euros a year)."
  • "We reported around one million nights in 180 countries."
  • "The economic situation is the primary reason for house exchanges."
  • "We are concerned about being a collateral victim to regulations. Afraid of being lumped together."
  • "Exchanges are promising. There is enormous potential."

Do you feel pressure from owners?

Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa

  • "We have a very strict specifications sheet. Very few accommodations correspond to those who wish to earn as much money as possible and do not respect the rules."

Clara Audry, Development director, Onefinestay

  • "They live in their apartment, have personal belongings there. Their motivation is simplicity as well as financial.
  • "Since launching in Paris, an effort has been made to educate owners."

Many retirees use it as a means to supplement their revenue. What do you think? Do you have a message for owners?

Jean-Bernard Falco, President, AhTop

  • "It is possible to cohabit, the difficulty lies in laying out the boundaries."
  • "There is a growing desire to have a different experience; this fact must be accepted. I am, of course, in favor of a measure enabling people to make ends meet at the end of the month."

How are your relations with local authorities?

Emmanuel Arnaud, President, GuestToGuest

  • "We have fallen victim to Uber and Airbnb syndrome. It is difficult to make local authorities understand that there are other models. We are unable to create a more constructive relationship; we spend our time reminding them “we are not AirBnB”..."

Magali Boisseau Becerril, Founder & CEO, BedyCasa

  • "Some towns require hosts to pay a visitor's tax. Some towns distinguish between those renting their accommodations occasionally and the others. There is no difference between guest rooms, B&Bs, … and the owners go wo their town hall but these do not have the right documents. There is legal uncertainty."